Phipps Proposes OSI Shake-Up

Is The OSI Still Relevant?

Jessica Thornsby

The OSI to draw up a new, member-led governance charter.

The OSI has recently come under fire at Simon Phipps’ blog, with
one visitor referring to it as a “zombie” that “staggers on,
consuming brains.” So, is it time for a shake-up of the OSI?
according to Simon Phipps, the answer is yes.

The OSI Board member has called for an OSI reform, and his ideas centre
around OSI becoming a member organisation with a representative
leadership, which is different to the current model. The OSI
currently consists of a Board of Directors, but the route onto that
Board is unclear. Phipps points out that this uncertainty results
in “new blood” being in particularly short supply for the OSI,
which has led to the Board passing a motion to impose time limits
on Board membership. With this motion, a number of long-standing
OSI Board members are due to retire over the upcoming twelve month

Phipps is currently calling for all those who have a problem
with OSI, to consider joining the initiative. “Plenty of people
spent time here and on Slashdot throwing rocks at OSI – many
deserved – but there’s an opportunity to join in to fix things,” he

But, is OSI still relevant? Phipps has previously laid out
three points where the organisation still
“plays a very important and relevant role in the world of software
freedom.” Firstly, according to him the OSI and OSD are important
tools in maintaining an open source standard. Secondly, OSI is a
major player in the licensing game, encouraging old “incorrectly
approved licences” to retire, and guiding organisations away from
creating new, unnecessary licenses. And, lastly, the OSI is a force
to be reckoned with when it comes to calling-out these ‘incorrect’
open source licenses, something that was seen recently in the

WebM licensing debate

Phipps is aware that OSI could do more to keep up with recent
trends in the world of developers. He proposes placing a focus on
open data and cloud computing, and ensuring that the “next
generation” of software developers are aware of the full scope of
open source.

The OSI are currently working on a new, member-led governance
charter for OSI. Anyone with thoughts on how the OSI should be run,
are encouraged to get in touch with either the OSI Board or Simon
Phipps himself.

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